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After 18 years, a Jehovah’s Witness undergoes successful bloodless heart transplant

Carolyn McLeod, a 65-year-old Texan cafeteria manager, has been waiting for a heart transplant for 18 years due to heart failure. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, she and her husband do not accept blood transfusions for religious reasons. After years of searching for an option, their doctor recommended the University of Chicago, which performs bloodless heart transplants. Carolyn was sent to Chicago because a bloodless transplant was not available in Austin. The heart transplant was performed by Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, a surgeon who has developed a protocol for bloodless transplant patients at the University of Chicago, where no blood enters the room and surgeries are monitored by bloodless coordinators. The surgery typically takes 25-30% longer and requires meticulous efforts to prevent complications. Carolyn is recovering in an apartment near the hospital in Chicago, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses community provides support for her and her husband. According to the surgeon, Carolyn’s case is complicated, but with the best care, she has finally found hope after a long wait for a heart transplant.

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